Although the need for lodging will always keep hotels relevant, with more than 700,000 resorts and hotels across the globe, yours can’t afford not to market yourselves if you want to be unique.
What is hotel marketing?
Hotel marketing encompasses various marketing techniques and strategies to brand your hotel, connect with your audience, build your customer base, increase sales, and rank higher in SEO.
In this post, we have 8 such strategies you can use to put your hotel on the map. There will be plenty of actionable tips ahead, so check it out.
8 Hotel Marketing Strategies to Employ Today
Build a Conversion-Focused Website
Every company has a website, including those outside of the hospitality industry. Yet how many of them have a conversion-focused website? Not nearly as many.
What do we mean when we say conversion-focused?
That every facet of your website is designed to attract many visitors and keep them on the page.
This is a purposeful website design that’s less about appeal and more about function.
Your website should follow the most current SEO best practices. Some of those are as follows:
- UX is important: It’s all about the user experience (UX) on websites anymore. All links on your site should be working and all content must be typo-free. Interactive content helps as well, as does easy navigation.
- Follow the EAT principle: No, EAT doesn’t stand for having a snack in this case, but expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. By encapsulating these three values, Google increases your site ranking.
- Track the right metrics: There are three metrics at current that Google uses to dictate your website placement on their search results page.
- Cumulative Layout Shift: CLS is a measurement of the visual stability of your website. You want a value that’s under .1.
- First Input Delay: FID determines how responsive your website is and should be 100 ms or less.
- Largest Content Paint: LCP is the page speed for above-the-fold elements. If your page doesn’t load in 2.5 seconds or faster, it’s too slow.
Speed is truly more important than website style.
That doesn’t mean your site has to be ugly, as that will turn customers and potential customers away too.
Instead, it means that you shouldn’t bog down your site with visually appealing elements.
Here are some hotel website designs courtesy of our blog that shows you how to combine style with speed.
Your site must have mobile optimization as well.
Smartphones are so prevalent in daily life that most people who land on your site are doing so on their phones.
If your site is only formulated for desktop users, you can expect the site visitor to continue on to the competition.
Get Great Reviews
As a hotel owner, you can promote yourself until you’re blue in the face, but what will really make up someone’s mind is other’s experiences.
According to Oberlo, almost nine out of 10 people will scope out reviews before they make a purchasing decision. That goes for products and services alike.
That’s why one pillar of your hotel marketing plan must be to increase the number of reviews your hotel gets.
Doing this doesn’t have to be difficult, either.
The next time you get a visitor, send them a text message or an email asking them to review their stay.
Timeliness is important here; if you send the survey two days later, the customer might have already begun to forget the details of the hotel.
Then wait for the reviews to trickle in. Some will be positive, others will inevitably be negative, but you must respond to as many as you can.
If it’s a positive review, then thank the customer for leaving it and comment on a few points they mentioned.
For negative reviews, ask the customer if there’s something you can do to improve their experience for next time. Offer to communicate with them through phone or email to make matters right.
Although many companies think that negative reviews make them look bad, it’s all about how you handle them.
By prioritizing customer service even in the face of a bad review, you show your customers that you care.
Use Unique Branding
In our post on hotel branding, we discussed the benefits of such. Using branding can increase your trustworthiness, differentiate you from the competition, and open up revenue channels you might not have known existed.
Further, you can create passion around your brand that’s contagious. Your customers become your ambassadors.
How do you make a unique brand considering that every hotel has to brand itself? Well first, you need to understand your target audience.
This should really be the first part of your hotel marketing plan. After all, without knowing who your audience segments are, you can’t sell them tailored services.
Target audiences vary by hotel.
If yours is a family-friendly hotel, then your ideal customer is a parent. Maybe you’re more of a business hotel because you have many conference halls and related amenities. Then your target audience would be working-class adults between their 20s and 50s, maybe older.
Once you know who your target audience segments are, you can begin to brand yourself in kind
Rather than promote your hotel, promote a lifestyle.
For instance, focus on your fitness facilities, your onsite restaurants, and your rooftop terrace bar. Talk about all the great tourist sites that surround your hotel too.
Start an Email Marketing Campaign
According to a 2021 HubSpot report, more than four billion people around the globe use email every single day. Email marketing remains one of the best tools in your hotel marketing arsenal, so take advantage of it.
Does your hotel send out a monthly email newsletter? If you don’t already, then you need to start.
If you already have a newsletter, it doesn’t hurt to revamp it. Your email list doesn’t want to be regaled with boring stories about quarterly sales meetings or who your latest food vendor is. They want to be entertained.
How can you make your newsletter more entertaining? Since you know who your target audience is, it becomes easier to narrow the focus of your newsletter.
Maybe they want to hear about the new wing you’re adding to the hotel or how you’re striving to make the building greener.
If you can offer behind-the-scenes glimpses into the daily operations of your hotel, many customers appreciate this sort of thing, as it increases your hotel’s transparency.
You should also watch the balance of content included in your newsletter.
You want 80 percent of the content to be educational or entertaining and the remaining 20 percent to be promotional.
Besides sprucing up your email newsletter, you should also get into a rhythm of emailing your customers with exclusive deals and offers.
It’s hard to resist a stay at a hotel when you get the third night free.
If you’re having a hard time staying on top of your email marketing, consider using automation to send emails and even responses on a schedule.
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Have a Marketing Budget
This next marketing tip isn’t so much a strategy as a good plan. You must have a marketing budget set aside to pay for website design, SEO services, branding, and the other areas of hotel marketing we’re going to discuss ahead.
How much of a budget these services require will vary.
According to marketing resource WebStrategies, in 2020, the average marketing budget was 11.4 percent of a company’s revenue.
If there’s one time of year where your marketing spending might be higher, that should be during peak booking season.
You want to draw in the most business, so you’ll usually ramp up your hotel marketing efforts to do so.
By reducing marketing spending during the slower months, you can avoid blowing through your budget quickly.
Foster Local Business Relationships
The businesses that share your community aren’t competition unless they’re other hotels. From restaurants to bars, retail shops, and everything in between, try to form business partnerships with these companies.
This deeply fosters the sense of community that you can use to brand your hotel. You’re promoting a lifestyle, and part of that lifestyle is the immersive community.
Look for opportunities to promote other businesses whenever appropriate. Perhaps you repost their content on your social media or you two arrange a guest blogging deal.
You can even hold a contest or giveaway where their products or services are the prizes.
The idea here is cross-promotion, so the other business should want to reciprocate the above efforts. For example, maybe the prize for their contest is a free two-night stay at a premium suite in your hotel room.
We also suggest looking for ways to promote your city or town as a whole.
What is it about the area that’s so special? Is it the above-mentioned local tourist attractions? Perhaps you’re in a college town or a historic city. Your city or town could have been rated one of the best places to live in the country.
If you can’t pinpoint something exciting about your city or town like in the above examples, then get out there and find what’s exciting! You shouldn’t have to look far.
Fully Utilize Google My Business
Companies big and small have Google My Business accounts, and your hotel must as well. Google My Business is free, so even if your hotel marketing budget is on a shoestring, you can still use this service.
Google My Business presents all the pertinent information on your hotel when a customer searches for you on Google.
That includes your hotel name, address, phone number, and website address. Customers can even book a stay at your hotel right through Google.
However, Google My Business can only display the information that you provide. Make sure that your profile is 100 percent complete, including any small details that you might have overlooked.
Once your profile is done, continue to use Google My Business to the fullest.
Upload high-res photos of the various parts of your hotel, including the lobby, the rooms in each suite, the dining hall, onsite restaurants, your fitness facility, and the rooftop bar. This helps you rank higher with the service.
When your hotel is running a special or a discount, post it on your Google Business Profile.
Every bit of news you post will show up on your Google My Business profile as an update. If a customer searches for certain terms that are included in your updates, that can help connect them with your hotel.
Create Info-Rich Content
Our last hotel marketing tip is this: content is king, so use it!
Content encompasses far more than written blog posts or long-form content anymore, but photos, infographics, and videos as well. Still, we recommend starting simple with a travel guide posted on your website.
You might hire a third-party writer to produce the travel guide, or your in-house staff can do it.
The guide should cover all the great spots around your city and town, especially those businesses that you partner with. Make sure that you follow SEO best practices such as incorporating long-tail keywords.
Once your travel guide has been online for a while, update it. Repurposing old content is a great hotel marketing strategy. If businesses have closed since you wrote the guide, delete them. Add any new businesses so the guide is current.
We also recommend getting on social media and promoting attractions in your city or town.
Maybe you make a YouTube video showcasing the best little-known spots in your neighborhood or you create a series of Instagram posts.
This isn’t making content for content’s sake, but providing info-rich, high-value content to your customers and potential customers.
That kind of content resonates more and performs better!
Hotel marketing is an excellent way to help your hotel stand out.
Start with a budget, define your target audience, and then work on your website, your branding, your email marketing, and your content marketing.
If you’re struggling in the above areas, you can count on Mediaboom. We’re a digital marketing agency that offers services such as website design, advertising, and marketing.
We’ll help make your marketing goals achievable.